Monday, August 2, 2010

Tomato Tart

At the end of summer many people suffer a glut of tomatoes (zucchini too- and I thought I might try to give some recipes using each of these ingredients this month).

Not that fresh tomatoes aren't great, but you can usually only eat so many...
Sliced with salt and pepper, on a hamburger or sandwich, in a salad, salsa, cherry tomatoes out-of-hand...

Then everyone starts giving them to all their neighbors, who already have their own tomatoes as well as those from fourteen other people.

If you really wanted to give yourself something to do, you could start canning them... but it will certainly be an almost all-day project if you really have as many tomatoes as you should to even think of canning them to make it worth your while.

This is another excellent use of tomatoes. But I would say it's not just a way to "get rid" of tomatoes, it's actually a great recipe in and of itself.

One little tip here: don't refrigerate tomatoes- they lose flavor this way. Keep them in a cool/room temperature spot.
If you buy them, only buy what you can use in a reasonable time period without having them go bad.

I originally made this recipe more than a month ago on a rainy day (sorry, the lighting was less than stellar that day), and we all liked it very much (so I do plan on making it again).

The recipe comes from David Lebovitz's blog- he adapted it from A Culinary Journey in Gascony by Kate Ratliffe.
I would say that if your tomatoes are extremely juicy, try to get rid of a little of the juice and or seeds and pulp, or use a little less olive oil when you come to that part. The only thing I would add is that you could serve it drizzled with a little extra honey if you would like!

French Tomato Tart
makes 1 9 to 10-inch tart (using a tart pan with a removable bottom OR as a freestyle/rustic tart- pastry rolled into a circle and edges folded up... if you do this roll it out on a baking sheet with parchment paper underneath the pastry)

1 unbaked tart dough (recipe below)
Dijon or whole-grain mustard
2-3 large ripe tomatoes
2 T olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 generous T chopped fresh herbs (thyme, chives, chervil, tarragon...)
8 oz. (250 g) fresh or slightly aged goat cheese, sliced into rounds
Optional: 1 1/2 T flavorful honey

Tart dough:
1 1/2 c (210 g) flour
4 1/2 oz (125 g) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/2 t salt
1 large egg
2-3 T cold water

Make dough by mixing the flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and use your hands or a pastry blender to break in the butter until the mixture has a crumbly, cornmeal-like texture.
Mix the egg with 2 T of the water. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the beaten egg mixture, stirring until the dough holds together. If it's not coming together easily, add the additional tablespoon of water.
Gather the dough into a ball and roll the dough on a lightly floured surface, adding additional flour only as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter.
Roll the dough into a (rough) circle using a rolling pin. Once the dough is large enough so that it will cover the bottom of the pan and go up the sides, roll the dough around the rolling pin and then roll it over the tart pan (if it tears just patch it!). "Dock" the bottom of the pastry firmly with your fingertips a few times, pressing in to make indentations.
If making a freestyle tart, simply transfer the dough to a prepared baking sheet (no need to make indentations).
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).

Spread an even layer of mustard over the bottom of the tart dough and let sit a few minutes to dry out (for the free form tart leave about 2 inches around the perimeter without mustard).
Slice the tomatoes and arrange them over the mustard in a single, even layer. Drizzle the olive oil over the top.
Sprinkle with some chopped fresh herbs, then arrange the slices of goat cheese on top. Add some more fresh herbs, then drizzle with honey, if using.
(If baking a free-form tart this is when you gather and fold up the edges to envelop the filling.)
Bake the tart for 30 minutes or so, until the dough is cooked, the tomatoes tender, and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Depending on the heat of your oven, if the cheese doesn't brown as much as you'd like, you might want to pass it under the broiler until it's just right. If, on the other hand, the tart is cooking too fast, you may want to turn the oven down halfway through cooking and just keep an eye on it!

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